Friday, November 12, 2004

'wi-fi Exeter' is on hold thill Jan or Feb. At Life Bytes there are now a lot of large files for animation. Bandwidth is not really on a scale to cope with animation. The plan is to find and sort a mass of stuff and then look at streaming in Feb.

Last year we just had a laptop at the Phoenix with stored stuff. This is still part of the vision of future wifi though.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Guy Kewney has been drawn into the world of e-books. He is persuaded that a device for reading e-books will be widely available and cheap within four years. This will have a wireless link to the web obviously. See report at Afaics.

Not exactly on topic for Exeter, but it will reach here eventually.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

wi-fi works on trains, so it is thought

Guy Kewney reports that wi-fi has been known to work on trains to Scotland, but he has yet to actually find a train he can travel on.

My guess is that a lot of wi-fi is like this. It can actually work but for a lot of reasons few people use it.

Exeter is no exception to this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Freespot is installed at the Peter Chalk Centre. Too soon to judge what effect this will have. Paul Burgess is on the KMS stand in the exhibition part but seems to be spending most of his time on technical support. Configuring laptops and PDAs is still a problem.

Paul Burgess is usually at Broadband in Rural Areas-
Exeter benefits from being near rural areas where there is some policy for broadband support.

There will not be an organised visit this week. It is clearly working as there were several people using it earlier today. So I think there is a start on 'wi-fi Exeter' but still a lot to learn from other places.

Tomorrow I will be at an Open Source meeting in London
People from Psand suggested I attend. They actually know about wi-fi and satellite broadband, using open source software.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Until recently I thought of Amsterdam as being more or less at the centre of actual broadband in Europe. The Seybold Seminars have had a basis in reality as if people there actually used the technology they speak about.

Now items like this report suggest the reality of wi-fi might be just as far from the claims as in Exeter

The Freespot in the Southgate Hotel is working. So as a conference centre it might be an alternative to the RAI.
John Traxler will talk on "Using Handheld Computers to Support Study Skills" tomorrow during Alt-C. There is a PDF on the web that explains some background.

I found this through Google. The Wolverhampton search finds several other things for "handheld", including this about games.
There is an internet cafe as part of Alt-C, part of the library on the right as you go in. It is also confirmed that there will be wi-fi in the Peter Chalk Centre.

Not sure how many people might visit Life Bytes. It seems a more self-contained event than the Science Fest. Still, as the library calls itself an internet cafe for the occasion maybe one with actual coffee is within the scope.

Joke. Man walks into a library
Man "I'd like some fish and chips please"
Librarian " You do realise this is a library."
Man (whispers) "I'd like some fish and chips please."

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Friday, September 10, 2004

There was the first actual check during Thursday. Actual visit to Freespot at Southgate Hotel ( working fine) , the BT phone box and an IT Box. Both the latter showed a signal but we did not actually use the web. Our impression was that there is not much use made of these. Full report next week.

Freespot seems a good option that may develop. Should be at the Peter Chalk building next week so we may check this also. If you're in Exeter, call in at Life Bytes or else this blog should be updated.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

Meanwhile the claims for wi-fi continue to escalate-

This from 'Good Morning Silicon Valley' archive

Despite much evidence to the contrary, Intel appears to be hitting at least a few of its deadlines. The company said Tuesday that it has begin sampling its new WiMax chip, Rosedale, and expects that it will be offered as an option on the Centrino platform by 2006. Based on the 802.16 WiMax specifications, Rosedale promises to deliver two-way Internet access at speeds of up to 75 megabits per second over distances as great as 10 miles. It's an emerging standard, and one that promises to transform connectivity. "WiMax will be to DSL what cellular was to landlines: a more convenient, lower cost technology,"
. "We predict the same kind of growth for WiMax as was seen with Wi-Fi. By 2008 we think that 8 percent of all internet connections will be via WiMax." said Intel president Paul Otellini

Intel is the source for the idea that Exeter is a centre of wi-fi hotspots. The phrase 'spurious claims' has been used at The Register. Maybe it is just a matter of timing. There will be some wi-fi in Exeter sometime in the future. Something has started already but things are still on a small scale.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Probably the check of phone boxes and IT boxes in central Exeter will be on Thursday, starting in the afternoon. Check this blog or ask at Liofe Bytes.

The expectation is that Freespot will be available at the Peter Chalk Conference Centre in time for Alt-C next week. If this is the only web access there may be some people who have not brought a laptop so may like to visit Life Bytes.

24 Paris Street, just a bit further than the High Street.

Monday, September 06, 2004

There is an internet cafe as part of the BA Science Festival. Just past the registration desk as you go in to Devonshire House. They have some handouts about our tests for wifi Exeter and they will be kept up to date of any further movements during the week. No wifi as such but the aim is for wifi to be available at the Peter Chalk Centre by next week for Alt-C.

Meanwhile Psand are working on a broadcast from Dorset next Sunday. There is an aim to connect an internet cafe in Exeter with events such as Animated Exeter and/or Vibraphonic. One problem is that Life Bytes may come to an end with the current building in December. So things happen out of time and space. Psand will also be at a conference next week in London-
Lasa's Penguin Day( withBristol Wireless to talk and listen. A lot has happened in Brstol around wireless. There will be streaming media from Barcelona in October - the D-Form festival ( Suggest this is benchmarked in Exeter to check out how internet stuff could fit with sound and animation.

This blog will be kept fairly up to date during this week. Info also probably at Life Bytes, 24 Paris Street.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Life Bytes is now active. They will get some new kit next week suitable for a Doom event over the bank holiday. They can cope fine with email and browsing. Some people are asking to connect their own laptop computers to the network. No sign of wi-fi or much demand. No feedback so far that people would prefer to use wi-fi somewhere else.

So what is going on? Is 'wi-fi Exeter' unusual or is there actually much less use of wi-fi than is often reported?

I am going to start again assuming general ignorance. The Science Festival comes up in September. There must be a few people who actually understand how wi-fi works. Probably it is fairly easy once you get used to it. The people at Life Bytes seem supportive of more exploration. Times and dates will follow.

Science Fest website

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Life Bytes on Paris Street is likely to open later this week. The painting is done, the cable exists, BT are expected to install ADSL on Wednesday.

'Wi-Fi Exeter' will be a subject for discussion.

01392 848781

Monday, July 12, 2004

More evidence that wi-fi could be free in future

Maggie Downs confesses that she has no understanding of how this stuff works. But anyone could understand her argument.

If Cincinnati, why not Exeter? Some time later, probably.

As Life Bytes is now more likely - in fact a telephone is now installed at 24 Paris Street according to reliable sources - maybe Exeter will go back to cyber cafe style for a while. But wi-fi should be on the agenda, and free wi-fi part of the discussion. People who sit around at Life Bytes and talk about this may also drink coffee. Will this cover the rent?

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Couple of new things.

There may be a games based internet cafe in Exeter for a while. Parts of Paris Street are to be demolished as part of the new Exeter must change sequence. The High Street is hard to walk through. There is no way to Southernhay from the Cathedral Green. The Post Office will soon be on the edge of the centre.

However the upside of this is that a short rent for six months might be afforded by renting computers. Apparently networked games has a following. Personally I am not convinced there is demand in Exeter to get a cafe through the winter but the bulldozers should arrive by Feb anyway.

For details contact David Gedrych

Second thing is that BT seem to have changed policy with their phone boxes. On South Street you can now use their screen and keyboard for minimum 30p for 15 minutes. This works aout at £1.20 an hour, much less than £6 an hour for wi-fi. Also with wi-fi you have to buy the time online with a credit card, then remember or copy a user name and password. 30p in cash is enough to check out a page or two.

So the combination of events suggests another timewarp. wi-fi may be the future but a cafe is another choice while it lasts.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

wi-fi "across the straits of Gibraltar" seems to have worked ok

According to slashdot, this wi-fi link has worked

in case that fails to link, it should connect to

The actual content is still arriving, I think. I am travelling at the moment and have found Radio Vague / Psand streaming to be not there at all. I guess this is because others are trying to connect. The Fadaiat sites have much material already available.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Meanwhile there is no news on the Cathedral Green. Maybe the problems of blocking out all and any undesirable content proved impossible.

Th@t PC has moved to St George's Market on Fore Street so if you need web access head towards Exe bridge from the cathedral and look out on left. No wi-fi as yet.

I have started to update Internet Express site, recently rediscovered.

There is a news item there based on a Stephen Timms presentation at Internet World. He explained about a pilot project for wi-fi in rural libraries. There are ten sites, one in Launceston. Maybe wi-fi awareness will just happen over the summer and by around September it will be commonplace.

Psand are somewhere near Gibraltar at the moment, working on wi-fi and satellite for Fadaiat. More reports later.

I have signed up for some newsletters looking for new ideas. 'Good Morning silicon Valley' seemed like a good idea. The first one includes news from North Devon.

Intel has commissioned a 1.7 Ghz, Wi-Fi surf board, debuting today at a sports and music festival in North Devon, England. The 9-foot, 4-inch board is equipped with a tablet laptop with an 80 Gb drive, a video camera and solar panels, all packaged in a sealed design that doesn't interfere with the ride or feel. "It's all about giving people the freedom to get online when and where they want," said Tim Hatch, Intel's consumer marketing manager.

These Intel people are the source for the idea that Exeter is a centre for wi-fi in the UK. I recently checked the Globe pub in Newtown, not far from the Exeter City council offices. No sign of activity via wi-fi. Could it be that the UK just has a lot of games machines in pubs, some of which might be used for wireless networking if anyone knew how to?

Comment from John Paczkowski of

Well, OK, as long as this remains a novelty item; live telemetry from inside a curl could be pretty neat. But if you ever end up so bored on your board that you feel compelled to read e-mail, it's time for a visit to your spiritual guide for a values check-up.
surf site

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Meanwhile, a couple of links from the Community Broadband mailing

Some activity in the East, could be inspiring out West.

many connections, some from last summer

Monday, May 17, 2004

There is still an expectation that the Cathedral Green will be available as a Freespot later in May. Apparently Freespot could work in the UK as a free service. Michelmore's site has already announced that they will leave their current site before long so this Cathedral Green option won't last indefinitely unless someone else takes it on.

I have been looking at Printme, a service from EFI. It seems this has worked ok in the US but there are only a few sites in the UK. Hilton ansd Marriott hotels in central London and Heathrow / Gatwick. I shall put some links on the other site. Something may turn up in Exeter later.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Site updated at permanent style website for 'wi-fi Exeter'.

This includes photos and a PDF on how to find the Southgate Hotel from the cathedral green. Two spots where Freespot should be available soon.

Freespot seems to be based in Japan. The idea of free access paid for by venues could work in the UK if the costs were a bit lower. Not sure how many venues can consider it. The cathedral site is sponsored by Michelmores solicitors. They are moving later so this may only last the summer.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

In the Express and Echo yesterday there was news on the business pages about free wi-fi access at the Southgate Hotel and later on the cathedral green. More follows later.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Psand have started their activities for 2004. They will probably do more over the summer. In the previous two years thay arranged web access at Glastonbury (lost vaguness) and at the Big Green Gathering. Somerset is not too far from Exeter so maybe there will be some connection. There was a short notice of the streaming event so a few people in Exeter got to hear of it.

I had a mixed response to the event. It was amazing what was possible and there was a sense of occassion. However the sound quality varied quite a lot. Meanwhile in Exeter there is Vibraphonic, a music festival with a temp radio licence for FM -106.2 . This is such a rare and high quality chance that I found myself losing interest in the streaming media and turning back to radio. This might change as bandwidth improves but it set me thinking. I undersatnd some of the streams will be backed up and made available as archive. Maybe for Animated Exeter there could be an edited version of highlights in high quality. Could be on CD in the post if bandwidth is still an issue. This could work at any festival meanwhile. The style strikes me as animation in all but name and inclusion in an animation festival. Mostly in Quicktime format so it could be shown large scale on occasions. Wi-fi is one option but maybe there are others.

Includes an archive of previous events

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Just to note that there is wi-fi access in the George Fox building for the Networked Learning conference.

So there is some use of this being made. Presumably conferences in Exeter also have this but I'm not sure about how much this is used.

This is sent from the one of the PCs available anyway.

The conference is howing signs of momentum for the web in education. There are now loads of people with a job recognised as a 'learning technologist'. They don't talk much about technology though, mostly learning theory. And they want to do research. It seems to me that the idease around pc support are mucg too various and unstable for this to happen as an academic subject.

More later. Time for lunch.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Another set of suggestions for a reference pub site

This comes from the discussion around next week's wi-fi event

Wednesday April 7th Frigate and Firkin Pub, near Olympia

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Some progress on the message board for the Access to Broadband Campaign.

My question has been asking about where a pub exists with a wi-fi culture strong enough to support knowledge.

Guy Kewney has written in with a suggestion, the Progress Bar in Tufnell Park

This has come about because on Guy Kewney's wi-fi site there is mention of a pub meeting next week after a wi-fi show at Olympia.

Can't be there myself but this is a sign of some progress. Exeter is still cold and grey at the moment but people from Tufnell Park may visit in the summer and explain a bit more.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

During the festival I noticed that there could be a connection between the animation from Lumen and the new experiments from

Lumen distribute "A Beautiful Virus Inside the Machine: Animation works by Lillian Schwartz, 1970-8"
It might be possible to show this as well as project stuff from a computer.

If this works anywhere, please get in touch. Something like this might happen at Animated Exeter next year.
There is a fairly new organisation in Exeter called Wired West. I have been to one meeting and told a few people about how animation and wi-fi could both be supported. They seem more interested in a 'business case' for wi-fi so i have added a link to Intel.


Some students at Plymouth College of Art and Design have done a short Flash piece as work experience. I could not offer much of a script except to ask they showed a wi-fi bus reaching Exeter where something happened at a festival. They have done a great job in the time. I hope to do more promotion on this later.

Still not a lot of sign of wi-fi in Exeter. However there is an article in Personal Computer World ( May p 97 ) about broadband in Buckfastleigh.

It seems there are a couple of pubs with wi-fi so this could be investigated. Buckfastleigh is not too far from Exeter. Things could move over the summer. I think it is safe to assume that wi-fi will be widely available in time for Animated Exeter in 2005. Meanwhile something will continue online.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Apologies for lack of new information.

There will be an update soon.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

One more thing.

There is now a guide to Psand intentions for 2004

There will be hard copies of this at the Games and Careers days so maybe there will be a connection or two.

'wi-fi Exeter' may need development but there can be some base for discussion here for people passing through.
Tomorrow is Games Day at the Phoenix. At least three of the PCs form Hyperactive storage seem to be working.

Games is on the edge of the animation scope and PCs are on the edge of that. The assumed interest is around PS2 and X box. However we should get something to happen and ths material is working ok on a laptop. The technology changes quite fast though. Hardly any of the files work on the Hyperactive kit, roughly eighteen months out of it. So this is an archive display.

Bandwidth returns as an issue. Looking again at various sites it turns out that Atom Films now have a Hidef section. Some of this is animation and it really is better than anything on television from a picture quality. 'Uncle' was created in plasticine so would fit with a film program such as much of animated Exeter. So there is a connection there, if there was bandwidth.

BBC4 had a program on games to be repeated next week. It includes information on BAFTA awards for 'interactive' and games. I don't know who set up the British Animation Awards but maybe they would take in games and/or interactive. If not there should be some connection with BAFTA. The software and skills is much the same. This may come up during the careers day on Monday or maybe I shall find out where my view could be going wrong.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

For the next couple of weeks this blog will be about animated Exeter.

wi-fi Exeter is ok but to simplify things there is now a CD with downloads of Quicktime and from . This is easier to explain and will help to identify the screens where stuff can be shown.

There were about 700 downloads of an A4 page with photos of Exeter's famous BT phone boxes with wi-fi. I'm not sure how many were from people in Exeter though. There was not much sign of extra activity during the week of the BT offer. As it co-incided with snow blizzards that kept people at home, maybe they should repeat the offer in the summer.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

wifiExeter is now almost the same in my mind as Animated Exeter ( digital fringe )

This seems the best chance to show off what broadband might mean.

However I intend to make sure any demo animation is downloaded to a hard disk. Things can go wrong and technical support is often hard to find.

The idea now is definitely to talk about possibilities next year rather than make claims about this year.

Meanwhile Joss Stone seems to be a reality in the UK album chart and there is debate about how this could come about for soul from Devon. It was a surprise to start with but through Guardian talk I am getting to slightly resent the view that this must be a one-off and that there can't possibly be a Devon soul scene. It is at least as plausible as the idea that Exeter is a centre for wifi.

Monday, January 12, 2004

The new year seems to be starting so the gaps could be shorter between postings.

Several developments

PC World near Exe Bridge has a BT hotspot and a demo laptop that seems to be working. This is a useful base to demonstrate what is possible.

Co-ops UK has joined in with an effort to promote rural broadband. Not sure what this is about but there is a conference coming up

There is a bulletin board where I have started enquiries about Mycloud pubs where wifi is actually in use

BT will offer free access later this month. I'm not sure how many people in Exeter know about this.